Former Congressman Virgil Goode qualified for the presidential ballot in Virginia yesterday after a challenge from the state's Republican party.
Running as a third-party candidate for the Constitution Party, Goode submitted over 20,500 signatures, far above the requisite 10,000 needed to qualify for the ballot.
However, the eligibility of many of the signatures was challenged in a 28-page report filed by McGuire Woods Consulting Firm on behalf of the Republican Party of Virginia.
The report approximated 36 percent of Goode's signatures had material omissions and could not be counted. Additionally, the report makes claims of fraud in signature-gathering efforts.
While third-party candidates rarely have a chance of winning an election on a national scale, their involvement can affect voting numbers for Republican and Democratic candidates.
Current poll numbers have Obama and Romney nearly tied in the state, and according to a poll report produced by Public Policy Polling in July, Goode could garner 9-percent of the vote in Virginia. Goode supports smaller government and the end of "Obamacare;" he opposes amnesty programs for illegal immigrants and abortion. These positions leave him most likely to draw voters away from the Republican Party.
Goode claims the Republican Party's challenge to his campaign is merely political tactics.
“I think it's an effort to squelch persons who have different views,” Goode said in a phone interview Tuesday. “Some in the Romney camp believe that we will take votes from Romney, but we will take votes from Romney and Obama.”
Goode recollects one individual who signed the petition, stating they would have voted for Obama if there were no third-party options.
Goode said his campaign will bring people to the polls that otherwise would have stayed at home, disillusioned with the involvement of large money and corporate sponsered Super PACs in traditional campaigning.
Although the State Board of Elections did qualify Goode to be on the ballot, it also voted unanimously requesting the Office of the Attorney General further investigate allegations of petition fraud.
Other third-party candidates who qualified for the ballot include Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Neither will be investigated.
Goode spent 12 years in Congress representing Virginia's Fifth District, comprised of southern and middle portions of Virginia, including Charlottesville and Bedford. He lost his seat to Democrat Tom Perreillo in 2008. He also spent 24 years in the Virginia State Senate.
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